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Small Steps: Iraq Edges Toward a Stable Future
By Ilan Berman, Jane's Defence Weekly, April 2, 2008
 

Slowly but surely, Iraq is turning a corner. In February, the Iraqi parliament approved two major measures aimed at normalising that country's fractious political scene. As significant as it is, however, this progress represents just one part of a larger picture. Indeed, future stability in Iraq may hinge as much on what transpires on two other strategic fronts as it does on the events now taking place in the so-called 'Sunni Triangle'.

 
An Obsolete Alliance
By E. Wayne Merry, The Journal of International Security Affairs, April 1, 2008
 

It is axiomatic that nothing in government is so long lasting as temporary measures. Policies, programs and appropriations initiated to respond to a transitory issue take on lives of their own, spawning institutions which not only outlive their purpose but themselves create new problems to justify their continued existence. On the international stage today, the most egregious example of this principle is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). An alliance created in response to the devastation of the Second World War in Europe and the onset of the Cold War is now approaching its seventh decade, two generations beyond the restoration of Europe’s economy plus a large measure of European unity and a full generation beyond Gorbachev’s acceptance of failure in the Cold War.

 
Quiet Victory?
By James S. Robbins, National Review Online, March 20, 2008
 

Has it really been five years since the advent of Operation Iraqi Freedom? The war has gone on far too long, and been far too expensive. The mistakes made in the crucial transition period from major combat operations to “Phase Four” stability operations will be reviewed and debated for decades. But as the president pointed out in his Iraq-war anniversary speech at the Pentagon Wednesday, the comprehensive “surge” strategy has been working. The surge has been a runaway good-news story. And there is no more certain sign of progress in the war than its disappearance from media coverage. Stories on Iraq comprised only 3 percent of the news in the first ten weeks of 2008, compared to 23 percent a year ago — an 87 percent drop. “Good news” has turned out to be an oxymoron. No bleed, no lede.
 

 
Turf War
By Ilan Berman, The Journal of International Security Affairs, March 1, 2008
 

It has been nearly five years since President George W. Bush stood on the deck of the U.S.S Abraham Lincoln and announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq. During that time, the United States has gotten a first-hand education in the complex ideological and religious frictions that simmer below the surface in the Muslim world. And while the Bush administration’s “surge” has now helped the Coalition regain the initiative in the former Ba’athist state, it has become abundantly clear that if Washington and its allies hope to maintain—and, better yet, to expand—their influence in the region as a whole, they still have a great deal to learn about what makes its inhabitants tick.

 
‘Enter Islam or Else!’
By James S. Robbins, National Review Online, January 10, 2008
 

Adam Gadahn, a.k.a. Azzam al Amriki, has come a long way since his days living on a goat farm and playing in his one-man death metal band Aphasia. The 30-year-old California native has quickly become the American face of al Qaeda. Azzam’s purpose is to make an appeal to the American people, to explain the current situation in the war and to exhort them to join in supporting al Qaeda and its cause.

 
The National Intelligence Guesstimate
By Ilan Berman, The American Spectator, December 6, 2007
 

In recent weeks, the White House appeared to be gaining serious ground in its efforts to cobble together an international consensus to confront Iran. Today, however, Administration officials are desperately trying to put the pieces of their Iran policy back together. The culprit is the intelligence community's new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which asserts that the Iranian regime currently is not in the business of making nuclear weapons.

 
Losing The War Of Ideas?
By Robert R. Reilly, The Claremont Institute, December 4, 2007
 

After a short two-year tenure, Karen Hughes now departs as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She concentrated on the public affairs area of her job by creating the Rapid Response Unit and regional media hubs—things that anyone would find hard to believe the U.S. government was not already doing before her arrival. Hughes inherited the detritus from the 1999 destruction of the U.S. Information Agency, and tried to put back some of the missing building blocks of public diplomacy. However, by almost every index, we are not doing well in the war of ideas. Some say we have already lost.

 
Flawed Federalism
By Ilan Berman, The Washington Times, October 19, 2007
 

Timing, the old saying goes, is everything. Just ask Sen. Joseph Biden, Delaware Democrat. For years, he has been sounding the bell about the need to devolve Iraq into its constituent parts: one Kurdish, one Sunni and one Shi'ite. And for years, his suggestions about Iraqi "federalism" have fallen on deaf ears. But now, in the wake of Gen. David Petraeus' long-awaited September report on the "surge," Mr. Biden's idea for the former Ba'athist state is suddenly getting some traction.

 
Iran, The Rainmaker
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, October 1, 2007
 

Ever since its start six years ago, the United States has been waging the War on Terror chiefly on the Sunni side of the religious divide within Islam. The principal targets have been Al-Qaeda and its affiliates. As recently as September 2006, the White House’s counter-terrorism strategy was still focused overwhelmingly on the Bin Laden network and its offshoots, which were seen as the vanguard of “a transnational movement of extremist organizations, networks, and individuals” threatening the United States. By contrast, the vision articulated by the president in his 2007 State of the Union Address is substantially broader. It encompasses not only Sunni extremists, but their Shi‘a counterparts as well. And, for the first time, it clearly and unambiguously identifies not just “terrorism” but a specific state sponsor — the Islamic Republic of Iran — as a threat to U.S. interests and objectives in the greater Middle East.
 

 
Getting China Right
By Stephen J. Yates, The Journal of International Security Affairs, September 15, 2007
 

American politics is entering a phase in which China is likely to increase in prominence, and where the fundamentals of U.S. policy toward the People’s Republic are likely to be called into question. Over the next two years, the White House’s approach is unlikely to change. But the Democrat-controlled Congress and presidential contenders alike can be expected to critique Administration policy and offer alternatives to it.